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Issue 1: October 2022


GSW voted #1 “Best Place to Work” in Sumter County two years in a row

GSW was recently named the “Best Place to Work” in the Americus Times-Recorder's Best of Sumter 2022 Readers' Choice Awards after being voted on by the community. This marks the second year in a row GSW has received this award.

“We are extremely proud of the culture we have here at Georgia Southwestern,” said GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. “Our greatest asset is our people. They work hard every day to make sure everyone has a great campus experience. If you ask anyone what makes GSW special, they’ll tell you it’s the family atmosphere, the sense of community, and the friendly environment - all a direct reflection of GSW’s people.”

Read more about GSW's award here.

faculty and staff pose with Best Place to Work award

GSW President Emeritus William Capitan dies at age 89

William Capitan, Ph.D., former Georgia Southwestern College (GSW) president, died Oct. 17, 2022, at age 89 in St. Simons, Ga.

Capitan, the University’s eighth president, served from 1979-1995. Capitan’s tenure as GSW president brought growth in academic and external programing, new construction, and enrollment. New degrees under his leadership included the Bachelor of Fine Arts, the Bachelor of Science in computer information systems, computer science, and computer science technology, and an expanded Bachelor of Business Administration.

Capitan’s administration saw a stronger emphasis on intercollegiate athletics, including football which never had a losing season in its four years, expansion of the Continuing Education Program, and extension of the Third World Studies Program. Capitan led construction efforts for the Fine Arts Building, the Deriso Pool, the Education Center, and the Westbrook Bell Tower.

Capitan was instrumental in establishing the GSW Foundation, which was chartered on Dec. 4, 1979, and the Rosalynn Carter Institute founded in 1987.

Read more about Capitan's time on campus here.


GSW Visual Arts participates in ‘Empty Bowls’ project helping to eliminate hunger locally
handmade ceramic bowls

Faculty and students in the Department of Visual Arts, along with local artists and restaurants, are coming together once again to feed the hungry by selling hand-crafted ceramic bowls and delicious soup.

GSW Department of Visual Arts and its student organization Artists United are sponsoring an ‘Empty Bowls’ project which will take place on Friday, Nov. 4 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Americus Arts Council Building. 326 W Forsyth St., Americus, GA 31709.

The goal for this year is to produce and sell bowls at $20 each. Sixty percent of the proceeds collected from this event will benefit the Harvest of Hope Food Pantry, a local charity. The Americus and Sumter County Arts Council will receive ten percent of the proceeds, with the remainder benefiting the GSW Department of Visual Arts.

Learn more about the Empty Bowls event here.


Adjunct General of Georgia speaks with Carter Leadership students

On October 7, sstudents in the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program had the opportunity to hear from GSW alumnus Major General Thomas Carden, Jr. ('92). He spoke with the students for over an hour about how to effectively and successfully lead an organization as well as his own life experiences, from attending GSW to his current role as the Adjunct General of Georgia. In this role, Maj. Gen. Carden leads the Georgia Department of Defense, the Army and Air National Guards of the State of Georgia, and the Georgia State Defense Force.

GSW hosts second annual Science Day

GSW hosts its second annual Science Day on September 30, 2022. Students and faculty from the departments of Chemistry, Geology & Physics, Biology, and Math led a variety of hands-on experiments and activities for over 100 area students. Students from Marion County Middle/High School, Lee County High School, and Americus homeschools were able to engage by holding snakes in the biology lab, igniting gas-filled bubbles in their hands, making ice cream with liquid nitrogen, burning gummy bears in a test tube, watching the ping pong ball liquid nitrogen explosions in Centennial Plaza, and enjoying liquid nitrogen ice cream. The event included lunch and tours of campus.

The event was organized by Professor of Chemistry Nedialka Iordanova, Ph.D., and was financially supported by the Southwest Georgia American Chemical Society local section (SOWEGA ACS), Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office, and the GSW Foundation.

Check out photos from the event on GSW's Facebook page and watch the recap video on YouTube.

Moir directs GSW students and faculty in The Importance of Being Earnest

Associate Professor of English Michael Moir, Ph.D., directed a production of Oscar Wilde's comedy The Importance of Being Earnest for Sumter Players. The cast included GSW students Sonja Bernacki, Teewon Beglar, Madelyn Dunstan, and Zoe McCord, along with Part-time Instructor of Music Beau Palmer. Development Officer Hunter Peak was part of the stage crew, and Professor of Psychology Gary Fisk and Associate Professor of Biology professor Anne Jacobs helped build the set. The play ran from October 20 to 23 in the GSW Fine Arts Theater. GSW students Thomas Price and Nehemiah Johnson assisted with tech and lighting design. Special thanks to Professor of Music Julie Megginson and Marnie Minick for their help in coordinating rehearsal and performance space.

the cast of The Importance of Being Earnest performs on stage

New faces in GSW Baseball

GSW head baseball coach Josh McDonald welcomed 15 newcomers to campus this fall as the 2022-23 signing class looks to build upon the program's highest Peach Belt Conference finish in school history. This group includes 11 college transfer position players, three college transfer pitchers and one high school pitcher. 

GSW posted a 27-27 record last spring with a 17-10 record in Peach Belt play which resulted in a third place finish in the league, the highest finish in the history of the program, to go with a new record in Peach Belt wins at 17. The Hurricanes look to reload and continue the upward trend of the program with its newest additions to the roster. 

"We are excited about this recruiting class," McDonald said. "(Assistant Coach) Tyler Bender did an excellent job in coordinating the recruiting efforts. We expect all of these guys to impact right away and help this club compete for a championship."

Learn more about the new players here.

baseball newcomers

Angela Smith chosen as Tree Lighter for Phoebe Sumter Lights of Love

GSW Alumni Engagement Specialist Angela Smith is a breast cancer survivor and has been chosen as the 2022 Tree Lighter for the Phoebe Sumter Lights of Love. The tree lighting ceremony will be held on Thursday, December 8 at 6 pm at the Main Hospital Entrance, 126 Highway 280 West in Americus. She is grateful to be cancer free and is honored to serve in this capacity.

The Lights of Love tree pays tribute to local cancer patients and their families. Thousands of lights will be lit in honor and memory of loved ones, and donations to the beloved holiday event will benefit oncology patients receiving treatments at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center.

Student Recognitions

GSWANS brings home three conference awards
GSWANS members with their awards

GSW Association of Nursing Students (GSWANS) attended the 70th annual Georgia Association of Nursing Students (GANS) State Conference October 7-8, 2022 at Georgia Gwinnett College. GSW brought home to Americus three special honors.

Senior Abby Torres was named Member of the Year, senior Rhett Clark was named Male Nursing Student of the Year, and Lecturer of Nursing Carrie Bachhofer was named Advisor of the Year. Clark received a $250 grant from GANS with his award.

The nursing program is lucky to have these deserving students and faculty member. These awards will further impact their careers as nurses and grant them even more opportunities.

Pictured left to right are Abby Torres, Rhett Clark, and Carrie Bachhofer.

Clara Lee and Maggie Cox place in Albany Museum of Art's essay contest
essay contest winners

Two GSW students placed in the Albany Museum of Art's (AMA) annual “A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words” essay contest. Freshman Clara Lee (not pictured) won the 250 first-place award in the College Division for her essay “Changing for the Better," which was inspired by William H. Johnson’s painting “Historical Scene.” 

Second place went to Maggie Cox (pictured at far right alongside other winners) for her entry “A Moment to Remember,” which was based on Tracy Murrell’s “Wayna Dreams of Ethiopia.” 

Participants in the high school and college divisions visited the AMA to view six artworks that had been designated for this year’s contest. Students then wrote essays of up to 1,000 words that drew inspiration from or in some way related to the chosen artwork.

Read more from the Albany Herald.

Nicolas Escobar named PBC Men's Golfer of the Week
Nicholas Escobar

Junior Nicolas Escobar was named a Peach Belt Conference Co-Golfer of the Week by the league office for the week of October 6. Escobar finished in a tie for seventh place at the Nova Southeastern University Shark Invitational that concluded on Tuesday at Grande Oaks Golf Club in Davie, Fla. Escobar's three-round score of 2-under-par (211) matched fellow PBC Co-Golfer of the Week and Shark Invitational participant Evan Thompson from the University of North Georgia.  

The Top 10 finish was Escobar's second in three events this fall. A native of Guayaquil, Ecuador, Escobar fired rounds of 71-71-69 to earn his first PBC Golfer of the Week award. He was 5-under on the par-5s with 36 total pars over the three rounds. Escobar is currently third in the PBC in stroke average (71.22). He becomes the 27th GSW golfer in program history to earn the Peach Belt's weekly award.


Dave presents at International Leadership Association convention

Associate Professor of English Anish Dave, Ph.D., gave a virtual presentation at the annual convention of the International Leadership Association on October 7, 2022. His co-presenters were Associate Professor Aditya Simha, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater and Associate Professor Lazarina Topuzova, Ph.D., (not present for the presentation) of Robert Morris University.

The title of his presentation was "Wisdom in Crisis through Altruistic Leadership: Two Examples from the Hiroshima Atomic Attack Survivors." The presentation briefly examined altruism as a driving force behind leadership in critical times.

The presentation abstract can be read here

Laughlin invited to present at eCampus Faculty Conference

Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Mark Laughlin, Ph.D., was invited to present “Best Practices for Online Teaching” for the USG’s eCampus webinar series, 7-Minute Sizzle, on September 30, 2022. He received a follow up invitation to present “Technology for Online Teaching” at the Annual eCampus Faculty Conference on November 11, 2022.

Six GSW faculty speak at Jubilee International Symposium
Zachery Ward presents at symposium

Six faculty from the College of Education spoke at the Jubilee International Symposium on October 12.

Lecturer Zachery Ward (pictured) presented a session titled "Colorful Teaching: 7 Teaching Strategies to Support LGBTQ+ Students."

Senior Lecturer and Director of GSW's Pre-K Program Jennifer Dickens, Assistant Professor Michael Crosby, and Associate Professor Becky Short presented a session titled "Promiting Diversity in a University Setting."

Instructor Rebecca Miller presented a session titled "Social Emotional Learning."

Assistant Professor Mary Huffman, Ph.D., Associate Professor Becky Short "International Explorations Equals Innovative Education."

The Symposium, held on GSW's campus, is the fourth annual event featuring experts, educators, and supporters of the developing collaboration around innovative curricular trends, global citizenship, peace education initiatives, and public-private sector partnerships. The Symposium was a collaborative effort between Furlow Charter School, Georgia Southwestern, Georgia Department of Education, Chattahoochee-Flint RESA and the community.

Photos from the Symposium are available on GSW's Facebook page.


Chen publishes study on BMI and quality of life

Assistant Professor Sisi Chen, Ph.D., published a study in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics on October 7, 2022 titled "Physical activity and body mass index were interactively related to health-related quality of life among older adults." The study examined the relationships among meeting physical activity guidelines (i.e., moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activity), BMI (i.e., underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in older adults.

The findings show that moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity and healthy weight are promising strategies to improve HRQoL in older adults. There were also sex differences in the relationships among physical activity, weight status and HRQoL. Both weight status and physical activity should be considered when designing intervention to promote health in older adults.

The study is available online here.

Laughlin releases new album of Schubert impromptus and dances
Mark Laughlin's newest album cover

Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Music Professor Mark Laughlin, Ph.D., has released his newest album, Impromptus, D. 899 and D. 935, and 16 German Dances, D. 783 of Franz Schubert.

Laughlin has released seven other albums in 2022, including a collection of albums featuring the works of Claude Debussy and a series of four albums featuring preludes by Alexander Scriabin.

The new Schubert album, along with Laughlin's other albums, "The Music of Enrique Granados", "Poulenc: Improvisations and Nocturnes”, “Chopin Nocturnes: The Georgia Recordings”, “Debussy: Suite Bergamasque and Children’s Corner”, and “Debussy: Images and Arabesques” are available on most streaming services, including Spotify and YouTube.

Parkinson publishes article on the war in Ukraine and its effects on South America

Professor of History Brian Parkinson, Ph.D., recently published an article titled “Waves Originating from Distant Shores: The Ripple Effects of the War in Ukraine on South American States" in a special publication about the war in Ukraine from the Association of Global South Studies. An abstract is available below.

Read the full article here.

The Association of Global South Studies, previously known as the Association of Third World Studies, was founded by GSW professor Harold Isaacs, Ph.D., in 1983.

The reverberations from Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine have registered along the length of the earthquake-prone Andes Mountains. There, citizens and governments alike have had to contend with the war’s economic aftershocks. Inflationary pressures predicated on the rising cost of energy and food have strained household finances; governments have hastened to assuage inflationary concerns with subsidies and supplementary measures. But the war’s impact has not only been economic. South American states have also adjusted their diplomatic responses to the war accordingly, forming new alliances based on the collective principles of participatory democracy and dependence on mutually beneficial economic relationships. Not all South American countries fit into the emerging paradigm, however. Some have adhered to an old Cold War model of maintaining diplomatic relationships.

New Hires, Promotions, Retirements, & Farewells

New Hires

John Mark Watford joined the College of Education as a Part-time Instructor on October 3, 2022.

Marissa Collins joined the Department of Athletics as an Athletics Trainer on October 3, 2022.

Stone Lawson Collins joined the Department of Athletics as an Athletics Trainer on October 3, 2022.

Wesley Payne joined Physical Plant as a Painter on October 10, 2022.

Gwendolyn Bellew joined the Office of Accounting Services as the Accounts Payable Supervisor on November 1, 2022.


Arianna Stegall, Fitness and Wellness Coordinator in the Office of Recreation and Wellness, left that role on October 14, 2022.

Lois Oliver, who recently retired from the Office of the Registrar and returned part-time as Registrar Consultant, left that role on September 28, 2022.

Shannon Griffin, Residential Living and Student Activities Coordinator in the Department of Residential and Campus Life, left that role on October 28, 2022.


Harland “Doc” Cofer, Professor Emeritus from the Department of Geology and Physics, passed away on September 1, 2022.

Don Chang Lee, retired professor from the Department of Geology and Physics, passed away on September 3, 2022.

Dr. William Capitan, former GSW president, passed away on October 17, 2022.

Helen H. Slaughter, retired GSW librarian, passed away on October 28, 2022.

Past Events

Tibetan monks create sand mandala in library

GSW hosted Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery on campus the week of October 10, where they created a mandala sand painting for world peace. Millions of grains of sand were painstakingly laid into place Monday through Thursday for 8 hours each day to form the image of a mandala and generate energies for global healing.

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies on Monday included huge, earth-reverberating Tibetan horns, polyphonic chanting, and drums.

Friday was the Closing Ceremony and the destruction of the mandala – a metaphor for the impermanence of life. Half of the sand from the painting was distributed to attendees, and the other half was deposited into the GSW Lake ensuring its distribution from tributary to river to sea, spreading the blessing of peace wherever it goes.

There was also a Community Mandala that students could participate in. The artwork representing GSW was designed by Lexi Glass, an art major in the Department of Visual Arts.

As part of their visit on campus, there was two lectures on the History of the Diaspora and Meditation for Focus and Stress for GSW students, faculty and staff to attend.

Browse more photos from the event on GSW's Facebook page.

Students attend convocation featuring Mandy Harvey
Mandy Harvey

On October 10, GSW welcomed Mandy Harvey to campus for a special convocation event. First-year students are reading Harvey's book, "Sensing the Rhythm: Finding My Voice in a World Without Sound," in their UNIV 1000 classes this semester.

Harvey, who placed fourth on season 12 of America's Got Talent after receiving a Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell, played some of her original songs and spoke to students about her journey of following her dreams as a singer/songwriter after losing her hearing at 19, just after starting a degree in music education.

Following her talk, audience members had the opportunity to ask questions, take photos, and speak directly with Harvey.

Canes Rainbow attends Atlanta Pride Parade

Twenty-two Canes Rainbow members traveled to Atlanta on October 9 for the city's annual Pride Parade, which drew over 100,000 people to Midtown.

Canes Rainbow members attend pride parade

Students and faculty hear from Asian American Studies author
Dr. Gandhi with her new book

Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi, Ph.D., from the at the University of California Los Angeles gave a virtual talk to GSW students and faculty on October 13, 2022. Her talk addressed her recent book, "Archipelago of Resettlement: Vietnamese Refugee Settlers and Decolonization across Guam and Israel-Palestine," published by the University of California Press earlier this year.

The book examines Vietnamese refugee resettlement in Guam and Israel-Palestine as a means to trace two forms of critical geography: first, archipelagos of empire — how the Vietnam War is linked to US military build-up in Guam and unwavering support of Israel; and second, corresponding archipelagos of resistance — how Chamorro decolonization efforts and Palestinian liberation struggles are connected via the Vietnamese refugee figure.

This event was sponsored and organized by the American Studies program, the Windows to the World program, the Department of English and Modern Languages, and the Department of History and Political Science.

Department of English and Modern Languages hosts 50 students at Fall Frolic

The Department of English and Modern Languages hosted students for their Second Annual Fall Frolic on October 20. All students taking any classes in the Department of English and Modern Languages were invited to enjoy refreshments and fellowship with faculty. In all, over 50 students attended the event.

The first Fall Frolic was held in 2019, but the COVID pandemic preveneted another event until this year.

Lecturer Jennifer Ryer, Ph.D., and Senior Lecturer Kay Sassi organized the successful event.

students and faculty enjoy food at event

Students attend Greek dinner

The Office of Greek Life recently held a dinner for all Greek students. The purpose of this dinner was to build unity among the ten fraternities and sororities that are currently active on campus. The students sat at tables with representatives from the different chapters, discussing their experiences and brainstorming ways that they could work together to foster the growth and impact of Greek Life at GSW.

Greek students pose for group photo

GSW Young Democrats attend Abrams rally

Officers of the newly reactivated GSW Young Democrats and their faculty advisor Blue Argo, lecturer of English, met Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams at her campaign rally in Americus on Monday, October 25, 2022. Students pictured include Tyeshia Walker, Amari Rudison, Frederick Wright, and Rosa Vasquez.

Young Democrats members at Abrams rally

Upcoming Events

  • November 1-28: Toy Drive for CASA
  • November 9: Majors and Minors Fair
  • November 10: Retirees Luncheon
  • November 11: Humanities/History Conference
  • November 14: Canes Kickoff
  • November 21-25: Thanksgiving Break (no classes)
  • November 24-25: Campus closed
  • November 28: Hurricane Holiday Fest
  • December 1: Waffles with the Weavers

Find more events on the GSW academic calendar, on CanesConnect, and on the Community Events webpage.